Registered Nurses provide nursing care to patients in hospitals, aged care and other health care facilities, and in the community.
assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care for patients according to accepted nursing practice and standards
working in consultation with other Health Professionals and members of health teams, and coordinating the care of patients
providing interventions, treatments and therapies such as medications, and monitoring responses to treatment and care plan
promoting health and assisting in preventing ill health by participating in health education and other health promotion activities
answering questions and providing information to patients and families about treatment and care
supervising and coordinating the work of Enrolled Nurses and other health care workers
- 254411 Nurse Practitioners
- 254412 Registered Nurses (Aged Care)
- 254413 Registered Nurses (Child and Family Health)
- 254414 Registered Nurses (Community Health)
- 254415 Registered Nurses (Critical Care and Emergency)
- 254416 Registered Nurses (Developmental Disability)
- 254417 Registered Nurses (Disability and Rehabilitation)
- 254418 Registered Nurses (Medical)
- 254421 Registered Nurses (Medical Practice)
- 254422 Registered Nurses (Mental Health)
- 254423 Registered Nurses (Perioperative)
- 254424 Registered Nurses (Surgical)
- 254425 Registered Nurses (Paediatrics)
- 254499 Registered Nurses (not covered elsewhere)
The NSC produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow strongly
- is likely to reach 331,200 by 2026.
Source: National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and National Skills Commission Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 50% of people employed as Registered Nurses work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 16 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $1,937 per week, this is much higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,608
- 1 in 4 earn more than $2,367
Median hourly earnings are $51, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Registered Nurses||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Registered Nurses work in the Health care and social assistance industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Registered Nurses||All Jobs Average|
Around 43% of Registered Nurses live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Registered Nurses is 43 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 89% of the workforce. This is 41 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Registered Nurses||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.7||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor degree in nursing is usually needed to work as a Registered Nurse. Alternatively, some people who already have a university qualification, undertake a Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry) degree.
Registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is required.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Registered Nurses||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||15.8||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||1.0||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Registered Nurses who are caring, empathetic, reliable, with strong communication and interpersonal skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Reading work related information.
59%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
54%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Teaching people how to do something.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
46%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
45%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Using maths to solve problems.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
73%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
63%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
59%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
58%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
48%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
44%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
44%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
36%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
35%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
34%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
30%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
27%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
19%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Read and understand written information.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
55%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Write in a way that people can understand.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
50%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
See details that are far away.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Use your abdominal and lower back muscles a number of times without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
82%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
79%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
79%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
78%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
70%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
69%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
67%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
67%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
66%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
65%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
64%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
64%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
63%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
60%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
56%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
55%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
49%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
48%Explaining things to people
Helping people to understand and use information.
47%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
40%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Talk on the telephone.
98%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
98%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
98%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
96%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
95%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
Talk with people face-to-face.
92%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
90%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
90%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
88%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
86%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Use electronic mail.
82%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Work to strict deadlines.
79%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
79%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
79%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1141.00 - Registered Nurses.